Ever since finding out we’re having a boy, I’ve been making detours through the baby sections of clothing stores to get a feel for what’s available in baby-boys-wear. I usually end up averting my eyes as I walk through the baby girls clothes (somehow you always have to walk through the girls clothes to get to the boys clothes). Otherwise, by the time I get to the boys clothes I am horribly depressed by the comparison. There are so many freaking cute girl outfits, and the vast majority of boy clothes are very meh.
As I’ve been perusing, I’ve noticed a somewhat disturbing trend in baby boy graphic tees. I’m not sure if there’s something similar going on in baby girl world (I try not to look, remember), but it seems fairly pervasive in baby boy world. Thus, I’ve rounded up a few pictures of these oddly themed tees.
It might just be the social worker in me that dislikes these graphic tees, so its very possible that mainstream folks won’t see anything wrong with these tees. In fact, I’ve linked each picture to the corresponding website where they’re available for purchase in the event that you fall in love with one.
The most common theme in graphic tees is overwhelmingly obnoxious cockiness. Yes, I understand that every parent thinks their child is adorable, but there’s no need to put it on a shirt. The cuteness should speak for itself, really. Plus, I’m hoping my baby boy grows up with a healthy sense of humility.
Another theme I noticed was rudeness. I want Baby Ching to be polite and kind. So why would I put rude phrases on his shirts?
Many shirts tag the wearer with a very negative label, and I think this is possibly the most disturbing theme. In intro psych courses you learn about the looking glass self theory, which basically asserts that people tend to become what other people think they are. For example, a kid forgets to do his homework assignment, so his teacher says, “You’re so irresponsible!” Even if this kid is really a fairly responsible guy, knowing that his teacher thinks he is irresponsible can eventually cause him to believe that he really is irresponsible. And when a person believes he is irresponsible, he has a tendency to become irresponsible. The same principle applies to these shirts. I just don’t think you can put a child in a shirt that says “rebel” and realistically expect him to be a thoughtful and obedient child.
Along the same vein are the shirts that label the wearer as a trouble-maker. Technically they’re part of the “negative labeling” theme, but there’s enough specific to trouble-making that they require their own category. Not only do they fall under the looking glass self idea I mentioned above, the message is just sort of disconcerting. They remind me of a bumper sticker I saw the other day that said, “I was probably drunk.” Not exactly classy. Nothing says, “I hope I end up in juvi,” like a shirt that says, “Here comes trouble.” It sends a weird message that deviance is expected and acceptable.
Lastly, there’s the mother-worshipping shirts. These are just ridiculous. Moms rock, but a shirt to confirm the fact is unnecessary.
I think it’d be fun to see graphic tees revolving around traits I actually want my children to have. You know, like “Super Dependable,” “I follow the rules,” “Honest Babe” (that one is kind of clever, yeah?), etc. My husband does do graphic design, so maybe one day you’ll see us cranking out a baby apparel line.